US Search Warrants Executed by FBI in Connection with WikiLeaks Sympathizers

By Ed Silverstein January 31, 2011

FBI agents executed more than 40 search warrants on Thursday in the United States to investigate cyber attacks against businesses and organizations. The searches are apparently connected to hackers who acted in sympathy to WikiLeaks.

Among the corporate websites targeted in the cyber attacks were those of PayPal, Visa and MasterCard after the companies cut their service with WikiLeaks, once it started publishing leaked classified cables, according to a report from TechZone360.

In a related matter, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service executed search warrants in England and arrested five people for their role in cyber attacks. U.K. authorities say the five males, who are ages 15, 16, 19, 20 and 26, were in custody after coordinated arrests at residences in the West Midlands, Northants, Herts, Surrey and London, England.

The investigations focus on distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), the FBI said.

These occur by using software which “damages a computer network’s ability to function by flooding it with useless commands and information, thus denying service to legitimate users,” according to a statement released by the FBI.

A loosely organized group, which goes by the name   “Anonymous,” claimed responsibility for the attacks, the FBI said.

The group said the cyber attacks were a form of “protest of the companies’ and organizations’ actions,” according to the FBI.

The FBI explains that facilitating or executing a DDoS attack is illegal in the United States. If convicted, a defendant may be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison, as well as having potential civil liability in a lawsuit.

Governments in the Netherlands, Germany and France started their own investigations into the DDoS attacks, the FBI said.

In December, a 16-year-old Dutch boy was arrested by Dutch police for his alleged role in attacks on MasterCard and Visa websites, after they cut off services to the embattled WikiLeaks’ site, according to TechZone360.

The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA) is assisting law enforcement agencies in their investigations.

In addition, several software providers have released software updates to detect “Low Orbit Ion Canon” tools that apparently were used in the cyber attacks, according to the FBI.

WikiLeaks has been the focus of public controversy after it began publishing classified diplomatic cables. The content of the cables embarrassed world leaders and put U.S. policies and the lives of operatives at risk, several political leaders have claimed.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

Related Articles

Consumer Privacy in the Digital Era: Three Trends to Watch

By: Special Guest    1/18/2018

Digital advertising has exploded in recent years, with the latest eMarketer data forecasting $83 billion in revenue this year and continued growth on …

Read More

CES 2018: Terabit Fiber - Closer Than We Think

By: Doug Mohney    1/17/2018

One of the biggest challenges for 5G and last mile 10 Gig deployments is not raw data speeds, but middle mile and core networks. The wireless industry…

Read More

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More